Most entrepreneurs start with a strong initial vision, and a Plan A for realising that vision. Unfortunately, most Plan A’s don’t work.

Reasonably smart people can rationalize anything, but entrepreneurs are especially gifted at this.

It’s important to realise that your initial vision is built largely on untested assumptions.

Lean methodologies can help you systematically test and refine that initial vision.

Running Lean can be distilled down to three steps:

  1. Document your Plan A
  2. Identify the riskiest parts of your plan
  3. Systematically test your plan.

These notes are based on the first section of “Running Lean” - The Three Stages of a Startup

These are my personal notes, which I hope others will find useful.

The three stages of a startup

The Three Stages of a Startup

1. Problem / Solution fit

Acting on ideas is quite expensive, and the biggest risk for most startups is the risk that they’ll build something that nobody wants. Because of this, it is important to identify whether the problem is one that’s worth solving.

Problem / solution fit is about about answering the following three questions:

  1. Is this something customers want? (is it a must-have?)
  2. Will they pay for it? If not, who will? (is it viable?)
  3. Can it be solved? (is it feasable?)

You can attempt to answer these questions using a combination of qualititative customer observations, and interview techniques.

From there, you can attempt to derive an MVP.

2. Product / Market Fit

In this phase, you measure whether you have built something that people want.

Once you have identified a problem that’s worth solving, and your MVP has been built, you can then test how well your solution solves the customer problem.

Achieving traction is the first significant milestone for a startup. At this stage, you have a plan that is starting to work - you are signing up custoers, retaining them, and getting paid.

3. Scale

Once you have product/market fit, and have gained some traction, the next step is to shift toward growth, or scaling your business model.

Want to read more?

I’ve written the notes on this book in several parts, you can read the other parts here:

  1. Document your Plan A

Thanks for reading!

I hope you found this post useful. Do you have any questions? Are there any follow-up blog posts you’d like me to write relating to this? Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments below.